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Saudi Arabian Army

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Title: Saudi Arabian Army  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia, Saudi Royal Guard Regiment, Saleh Al-Muhaya, Royal Saudi Air Force, Saudi Arabian National Guard
Collection: 1917 Establishments, Armies by Country, Military of Saudi Arabia
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Saudi Arabian Army

Saudi Arabian Army
الجيش العربي السعودي
RSA flag
Founded 1917
Country Saudi Arabia
Allegiance Saudi Arabia
Branch Army
Type Land Force
Role Land warfare
Size 150,000[1]
Part of Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia
Nickname RSLF
Motto "God is the greatest"
Chief of Army Staff General Eid bin Awad Al-Shalawi
A column of M-113 APCs and other military vehicles of the Royal Saudi Land Force travels along a channel cleared of mines during Operation Desert Storm., Kuwait - 1 March 1991.
The 20th Brigade of the Royal Saudi Land Force displays a 155 mm (6 in) GCT self-propelled gun, left, and AMX-10P infantry combat vehicles
A Saudi M60A3 tank being transferred
Saudi Arabian army UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter during Operation Desert Shield.
A Saudi Arabian (HMMWV) with a QCB machine gun mounted on top depart for the seaport of Mogadishu in Somalia

The Saudi Arabian Army (Arabic: الجيش العربي السعودي‎), also called Royal Saudi Land Force (Arabic: القوات البرية الملكية السعودية‎), is a branch of the Saudi Armed Forces. The total number of active troops is estimated to be 150,000.[1] The Chief of the Saudi General Staff until 2011 was Field Marshal Saleh Al-Muhaya.


  • History 1
  • Structure 2
  • Officers 3
  • Enlisted Ranks 4
  • Main equipment 5
    • Infantry weapons 5.1
      • Grenade, rocket, anti-tank, and missile systems 5.1.1
    • Vehicles 5.2
      • Logistics, support and engineering vehicles 5.2.1
      • Armoured fighting vehicles 5.2.2
    • Artillery and missile systems 5.3
      • Strategic missile systems 5.3.1
    • Army aviation 5.4
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


1923 is considered to be the birth year of the Saudi Army, as the modern Saudi Arabia have been Unified and founded as a single state. After the discovery of oil and the meeting between King Abdulaziz and the American President Franklin D. Roosevelt on February 14, 1945, the Americans became the new major ally of Saudi Arabia.

Other events that led to an expansion of the Saudi Army were the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948, the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in the Iranian Revolution in 1979 and the subsequent fears of possible Shia's actions and in the last years the first Gulf War in 1990. In the year 2000, Saudi Arabia's government spent billions of dollars to expand the Saudi Forces including the Saudi Army.

Wars involving Saudi Army:

Saudi Army in Jizan, November 2009


US Marines Training for Saudi Arabian Army

The combat strength of the Saudi Army consists of 3 armoured brigades, 5 mechanized infantry brigades, three light motorized rifle brigades, and one airborne brigade. It also has five independent artillery battalions and an aviation command. The Saudi Army deployed the 12th Armoured Brigade and 6th Mechanized Brigade at King Faisal Military City in the Tabuk area. It deployed the 4th Armoured Brigade, and 11th Mechanized Brigade at King Abdul Aziz Military City in the Khamis Mushayt area. It deployed the 20th Mechanized Brigade and 8th Mechanized Brigade at King Khalid Military City near Hafr al Batin. The 10th Mechanized Brigade is deployed at Sharawrah, which is near the border with Yemen and about 150 kilometers from Zamak.[2]

Despite the addition of a number of units and increased mobility achieved during the 1970s and 1980s, the army's personnel complement has expanded only moderately since a major buildup was launched in the late 1960s. The army has been chronically understrength, in the case of some units by an estimated 30 to 50 percent. These shortages have been aggravated by a relaxed policy that permitted considerable absenteeism and by a serious problem of retaining experienced technicians and noncommissioned officers (NCOs). The continued existence of a separate national guard also limited the pool of potential army recruits.[2]


  • 4th (King Fah’d) Armoured Brigade
  • 8th Armoured Brigade
  • 12th Armoured Brigade

A typical Saudi armoured brigade has an armoured reconnaissance company, three tank battalions with 42 tanks each, a mechanized infantry battalion with 54 AIFVs/APCs, and an artillery battalion with 18 self-propelled guns. It also has an army aviation company, an engineer company, a logistic battalion, a field workshop, and a medical company.[3]


  • 6th Mechanized Brigade
  • 8th Mechanized Brigade
  • 10th Mechanized Brigade
  • 11th Mechanized Brigade
  • 20th Mechanized Brigade

The five mechanized brigades consists of one tank battalion, three mechanized infantry battalions, an artillery battalion, and a support battalion.

A typical Saudi mechanized brigade has an armoured reconnaissance company, one tank battalion with 42 tanks, three mechanized infantry battalions with 54 AIFVs/APCs each, and an artillery battalion with 18 self-propelled guns. It also has an army aviation company, an engineer company, a logistic battalion, a field workshop, and a medical company. It has 24 anti-tank guided weapons launchers and four mortar sections with a total of eight 81 mm (3 in) mortars.[3]


  • 17th Light motorized infantry brigade
  • 18th Light motorized infantry brigade
  • 19th Light motorized infantry brigade

Each infantry brigade consists of three motorized battalions, an artillery battalion, and a support battalion. Army brigades should not be confused with Saudi Arabian National Guard brigades. Light motorized infantry brigades include the 17th, 18th, and 19th.


  • The Airborne Brigade
    • 4th Airborne Battalion
    • 5th Airborne Battalion

The Airborne Brigade is normally deployed near Tabuk. The Airborne Brigade has two parachute battalions and three Special Forces companies. Saudi Arabia is expanding its Special Forces and improving their equipment and training to help deal with the threat of terrorism. The Special Forces have been turned into independent fighting units to help deal with terrorists, and report directly to Prince Sultan.

Artillery Battalions

  • five artillery battalions
    • 14th FA (Towed, 155) Battalion
    • 15th FA (MLRS) Battalion
    • 18th Missile (MLRS) Battalion

The separate Royal Guard Regiment consists of three light infantry battalions.

Saudi Arabian Army Structure (click to enlarge).


Enlisted Ranks

Enlisted Ranks

Main equipment

Infantry weapons

Grenade, rocket, anti-tank, and missile systems

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
M203 Single shot grenade launcher  United States
FGM-148 Javelin Anti-tank guided missile  United States
Swingfire Anti-tank guided missile  United Kingdom
Vickers Vigilant Anti-tank missile 500  United Kingdom
M47 Dragon Anti-tank missile 4,692  United States
AGM-114 Hellfire Anti-tank guided missile 2,954  United States
HOT Anti-tank guided missile 3,500  France
West Germany
HOT 2 Anti-tank guided missile 249  France
West Germany
Bill 2 SACLOS Anti-tank missile 200  Sweden
SS.11 Anti-tank guided missile 2,000  France
BGM-71 TOW Anti-tank guided missile 10,738  United States
BGM-71C ITOW Anti-tank guided missile 2,538  United States
BGM-71D TOW-2 Anti-tank guided missile 6,210  United States
BGM-71E TOW-2A Anti-tank guided missile 5,131  United States


Logistics, support and engineering vehicles

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
HMMWV Light utility vehicle 15,000+  United States
URO VAMTAC Light utility vehicle 30[4]  Spain
CUCV II[5] Light utility vehicle ?  United States

Armoured fighting vehicles

Model Type In Active Service. Acquired Origin Notes
M1A2 Abrams Main battle tank 315 315  United States [6] Will be upgraded to M1A2S standard. 69 more ordered.[7]
M60A1/A3 Patton Main battle tank ~400 ~435  United States
AMX-30 Main battle tank ~135 ~460  France
Nexter Aravis Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle 200  France [8]
TPz Fuchs NBC reconnaissance
CP version
36 West Germany
Al-Fahd Infantry fighting vehicle 100  Saudi Arabia
LAV/Piranha II armoured fighting vehicle 1,117 Switzerland 172 on order
LAV-III armoured fighting vehicle 700+[9] Canada
Al-Naif Armored car  Saudi Arabia
Al Kaser Armoured personnel carrier 50  Saudi Arabia
AMX-10P Infantry fighting vehicle 200 558  France [10]
M2A2 Bradley Infantry fighting vehicle 400  United States [10]
M113 Armoured personnel carrier 1,112 Unknown  United States [10] 364 had been upgraded in Turkey.
EE-11 Urutu Armoured personnel carrier 20  Brazil
Der' Al-Jazeera[11][12] Armoured personnel carrier Unknown  Saudi Arabia
Al-Masmak Mine-Resistant Armoured personnel carrier Unknown  Saudi Arabia [13][14]
Panhard M3 Armoured personnel carrier 300  France
Panhard AML-60/90 Armoured car 300  Saudi Arabia [10]
Ashibl-1 Armoured personnel carrier Unknown  Saudi Arabia
V-150 Armoured personnel carrier 579  United States
Ashibl-2 Armoured personnel carrier Unknown  Saudi Arabia
MCPV Air-defense vehicle  France 68 on order[15]

Artillery and missile systems

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
M224 Mortar Mortar N/A N/A  United States
Brandt 60mm LR Gun-mortar Mortar N/A N/A  France
MO-120-RT-61 120mm Mortar 200 200  France
2R2M 120MM Mortar 28 28  France
M30 107 mm Mortar Mortar N/A  United States
PLZ-45 Self-propelled artillery 54[16]  China
M109A2 Self-propelled artillery 280  United States
CAESAR 155mm Self-propelled artillery 100 100  France
M-101A1 105mm Towed gun 100  United States
AMX-GCT Self-propelled artillery 90  France [10]
M198 howitzer Howitzer 120+  United States
FH-70 Howitzer 72+  European Union
M102 howitzer Howitzer 140[10]  United States
Astros II MLRS Rocket artillery 72  Brazil
M270 Multiple Launch Rocket System Rocket artillery 250  United States

Strategic missile systems

Model Type Quantity Acquired Origin Notes
DF-3 Intermediate-range ballistic missile 60 60  China Maximum range is 2800 km with a 2 tonne conventional warhead. Possible one nuclear warhead with a yield of 3.3 Mt.
DF-21 Medium-range ballistic missile  China Purchased in 2007, non-nuclear capable.[17]

Army aviation

Model Type Quantity Origin Comments Notes
Bell 406CS Combat Scout Attack Helicopter 13  United States
AH-64D Apache Attack Helicopter 82  United States A further 29 AH-64D Longbow III requested for more than $1200m.
Sikorsky S-70A1L Black Hawk Medevac Helicopter 8  United States
Sikorsky UH-60L Black Hawk Transport Helicopter 37  United States A further 24 UH-60L requested for $350m.
Bell 212 Transport Helicopter 27  Italy
SH-3 Sea King Transport Helicopter 3  European Union
Bell 204 / 205 Transport Helicopter 24  United States
Bell 412 Transport Helicopter 2  United States
Bell 412 Transport Helicopter 2  United States
Eurocopter AS-532 Cougar  France Combat Search and Rescue M 12
Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin  France Naval Helicopter
Medical Helicopter
Aeryon Scout[18] Miniature UAV 4  Canada
Saqr,2,3,4[19] Miniature UAV 28  Saudi Arabia
  • (Anti-Air systems belong to Air Defense Force)

See also


  1. ^ a b Center for Strategic and International Studies The Middle East Military Balance (page 12), 2005
  2. ^ a b Royal Saudi Land Forces
  3. ^ a b Accéder Google Francais
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicle: CUCV II". Retrieved 2013-03-15. 
  6. ^ The 2006 Saudi Shopping Spree: $2.9B to Upgrade M1 Abrams Tank Fleet
  7. ^ Saudi Arabia Orders 69 More M1A2S Abrams Heavy Tanks -, January 8, 2013
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b c d e f Military Balance 2005- page 135
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ Chinese Guns Conquer Arabia
  17. ^ Saudi Arabia to purchase DF-21 Chinese-made ballistic missile with the agreement of U.S. -, 1 February 2014
  18. ^ "picture of Saudi Army with Aeryon Scout". 
  19. ^ [1]

External links

  • RSLF official website
  • CIA World Factbook
  • Pakistani tanks deal
  • 2006 Military spending of Saudi Forces
  • latest French tanks deal
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